Possible Starting Lineup for 2009 Philadelphia Eagles
I'm very excited for the upcoming Eagles' season this year. In my opinion they have added enough pieces to be very successful.
They have the running game, line, QB, wideouts, tight ends, and overall defense to be a good football team.
Andy Reid needs to commit to the run a little more (Where have I heard that before?) but can't abandon the pass completely.
The defense must be aggressive and rock-solid and can't break down during the year.
This team has a chance to make a Super Bowl run, but it must be a total team effort.
Quarterback: Donovan McNabb
As he has for the last 10 years, Donovan McNabb will be starting at QB for the Eagles this year. Love him or hate him, he's been very successful.
When the Birds don't go to the Super Bowl, its usually not his fault. I think Donny Mac will have a very good year with all his weapons he has now.
Runningback: Brian Westbrook
As the perfect West Coast offense running back, Brian Westbrook will again be starting at tailback for the Eagles. I think the addition of LeSean McCoy will help take some of the load off Westbrook and keep him from wearing down as the season goes on.
Brian should be a Pro-Bowler and continue to be one of the most feared weapons in the game. Look for him to get more touches, but not necessarily from running the ball.
Expect him to get a ton of screen passes as DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin spread the defense out.
Wide Reciever 1: DeSean Jackson
After an outstanding rookie year, expect Jackson to find the end zone much more this year. After only having two td's last year, I think he will be the main target and make many more game-breaking plays.
His speed is matched in the NFC only by his teammate, Jeremy Maclin. Also expect to see DeSean lined up in a variety of places to maximize his speed and ability.
Wide Reciever 2: Kevin Curtis/Jeremy Maclin
The only reason I don't have Maclin starting from day one is because of the offense he played in college. Spread routes are very different than traditional routes. Kevin Curtis is a very capable receiver and a McNabb favorite.
My guess is that Curtis will start for the first half of the year or until Maclin gets this offense down. The day Maclin becomes a starter is a sad day for opposing defenses.
With two speed burners in Jackson and Maclin, plus the presence of a pass-catching tight end and Brian Westbrook, this Eagles offense should be fun to watch.
Maclin's talent and athletic ability won't keep him on the bench for long, but in the mean time, Kevin Curtis will get the job done.
Tight End: Brent Celek/Cornelius Ingram
From what I've heard and saw, Cornelius Ingram was one of, if not the, best players at the Eagles' rookie minicamp.
Its been said that he can really catch the football, and that his speed and change-of-direction abilities have returned after sitting out last year with a torn ACL.
If he can be the tight end he was at Florida, he could really make a difference. Meanwhile, Brent Celek really blossomed last year in the playoffs as a offensive threat.
While neither of these two are great blockers, that need can always be addressed in a veteran.
Left Tackle: Jason Peters
The new man in town comes to Philly with a reputation as one of the best offensive linemen in the game. He was a two-time Pro-Bowler in Buffalo and is still relatively young.
He should be able to keep the best pass-rushers in the NFC East at bay. If Peters can live up to the hype, he could be the best acquisition of the year.
Left Guard: Todd Herremans
Todd has been a mainstay on the Eagles O-Line for several years now. He has developed into one of the best guards in the League.
He's a guy who doesn't wow you with athletic ability or outstanding strength, but plays low and with good technique.
Center: Jamaal Jackson
Another returning O-Lineman for the Eagles. Jackson has been a very solid center for the Eagles and continually makes good line calls. He plays very smart and has very good strength. His play in the middle will help this offense click.
Right Guard: Shawn Andrews
After dealing with depression issues, Shawn Andrews is back. He should have less trouble staying normal with the acquisitions of his brother Stacy and former college roommate Jason Peters.
With Shawn back, this line should be among the best in the NFL and Andrews should re-establish himself as the best guard in the league.
Right Tackle: Stacy Andrews
There were rumors that Stacy and Shawn Andrews would switch positions, but according to ESPN, Stacy will play RT and Shawn will play RG.
This being said, the Andrews brothers should dominate on the right side. Besides being the mainstay RT, Stacy has to keep Shawn out of depression issues.
If he can do both those things, the Birds will have gotten a great bargain.
Right DE: Trent Cole
Trent Cole will be back again to wreck havoc from the defensive end position. Cole is one of the most feared pass-rushers in the NFL.
His combination of speed, athleticism, and various moves makes him a certified beast on defense. The only question is: Who will give him help pressuring QB's?
Left DE: Juqua Parker/Darren Howard/Victor Abriamiri
There are many candidates for the DE position opposite Trent Cole. All these guys have their strengths and weaknesses. Parker started the season last year and had 5 sacks. He's also a very solid tackler, but he's undersized to play the position.
Darren Howard actually led the team in sacks last year with 10, but he played only as a pass-rushing specialist. I'm not sure that he could put up the same production as a starter.
Abriamiri came to the Eagles via the draft with a lot of hype as a DE. He has yet to show why he was so highly thought of.
Granted, he was hurt for his rookie year but he should have put up better numbers than his 2008-2009 stat line. 2 sacks and 11 tackles just doesn't cut it.
Right DT: Brodrick Bunkley
Brodrick Bunkley has made tremendous strides since his rookie season. A first-round draft pick out of Florida State, Bunkley has ox-like strength and very good technique.
He's very good at taking on double-teams as showed against the Giants last year. He will be a starting DT for many years to come.
Left DT: Mike Patterson
The other half of the young, talented DT group the Eagles have. Patterson also has improved his technique and overall strength since joining the Eagles.
He is a very solid tackler, and is pretty athletic DT. He's not the most dominant DT ever, but he makes the plays he's supposed to and is very consistent.
Middle Line Backer: Stewart Bradley
I wasn't sure how good this guy was gonna be coming out of college, but I soon realized that he's a big, strong, and tough Nebraska linebacker.
Size wise, he's a monster. Standing 6-4 and weighing around 260, he has the height to see over the O-Line and the bulk to wrap up big running backs and tight ends.
He is a good leader and makes all the calls on the defense. He will eventually be a pro-bowl caliber MLB.
Weakside Line Backer: Akeem Jordan/Omar Gaither
Hopefully, this will be a battle to watch. Gaither started the year but did not play well and was replaced with Jordan.
I personally like Gaither because of his size. He is a monster in terms of size and speed. Gaither and Jordan have about the same speed but Gaither has 20 pounds on him. You can't argue with production though.
Strongside Line Backer: Chris Gocong
Gocong has went from a nobody to a starter. He has great athleticism and good enough size. He's a good pass-rusher but could have more sacks. Expect him to get more opportunities to blitz this year.
Cornerback 1: Asante Samuel
Samuel definitely has a knack for the big play. One of the leaders in INT's the past couple of years, Asante has really helped the Eagles D. He's a shutdown corner. Enough said.
Cornerback 2: Sheldon Brown/Ellis Hobbs
I think that if Sheldon actually plays to his ability, he should be able to beat out Hobbs easily. He is very aggressive, and has laid some huge hits on guys during his career. He also is a very solid cover corner.
Hobbs is a nice player, but if Brown plays and doesn't whine like Lito Sheppard did last year, he will have a starting job.
Free Safety: Sean Jones
What an unlucky guy. Everything Sean Jones does as an Eagle will be measured up to how Brian Dawkins does as a Bronco and what B-Dawk did in the past.
Jones is very athletic and fast, and he's had a lot of INT's in his career. If he can play only near the level that Dawkins did during his prime, his career in Philly will be a success.
Strong Safety: Quintin Mikell
Quintin Mikell is one of the best players no one outside of the NFC East has heard about. He may possibly be the best player on the Eagles defense. He is big and hits hard, which is necessary at the SS position in the 4-3 defense.
Also, Mikell has very good ball skills for a SS. This comes from his former time as Brian Dawkins' backup at Free Safety. All in all, Quintin should be a pro-bowler for many years.
Kicker: David Akers
No surprises here. David Akers has been the Eagles' kicker forever. He has also been one of the best for many years. His leg strength is deteriorating, but he is still very accurate. He might need to be replaced on kick-offs though.
Punter: Sav Rocca
The former Australian Rules player has his strength's and weaknesses as a punter. For one, he cannot hold very well, but he has a great leg and can pin opponents very deep. He will only improve with time.
Kick Returner: Jeremy Maclin and Quintin Demps
This could potentially be the most dynamic kick returning duo in the NFL. Maclin was an ace return man in college and definitely has the speed and moves to succeed in the NFL. If you choose to avoid Maclin, your kicking it to Demps, who was the Eagles return man last year.
Punt Returner: DeSean Jackson
DeSean Jackson has locked down the punt return job for years. He is a speedster, plain and simple. He showed potential last year and should score some TD's this year. In a whole, this return unit should be a weapon.